Religion and Current Events

Religion in Costa Rica

Hey, are you Catholic?

Yes? Go to Costa Rica and you can find a lot of friends there. Approximately 90% of Costa Ricans are Catholic. Well, actually, even if you’re not Catholic, no one’s going to beat you up or judge you, the Costa Rican constitution gives freedom of religion, libertad de la religión.

There are lots of Catholics in Costa Rica, but most Costa Ricans aren’t very religious and only respond to church bells on church days and special occasions. The relationship between the church and the state isn’t very good because Costa Rica knows about dictators from nearby countries and history and so hate high church officials. Because of this and the recent law in 1979  stating that sermons and baptizing can be carried on without the presence of a priest, there aren’t many priests, about one in ever 6,000 Catholics. Catholicism in Costa Rica is divided into four sections, each with a bishop ruling them. The archbishop who rules over all of them is the bishop of San José.

Saints are very important to Tico religion. Almost all villages are named after saints, and they have huge feast days for patron saints, like August 2nd, the feast day of Our Lady of the Angels, nuestra señora de los ángeles, one of the patron saints. Ticos celebrate this day with visiting friends and relatives, attending church services, singing, dancing, feasting, and watching the procession of La Negrita, a small black stone figure of the Virgin. Other holidays that aren’t related to saints are still religious, like Holy Week and Christmas, la Navidad. Holy Week is the week before Easter and most schools and businesses rest for the whole week. Like many countries, in Costa Rica, Christmas Eve is more important than Christmas itself and is celebrated my meeting and feasting with relatives and friends, gift giving, dancing and singing Christmas carols like the infamous Feliz Navidad.

In the end, religion doesn’t seem very important church wise as many Ticos don’t care much for church, but is still a subtle but yet large part of Costa Rican culture.

Current Events in Costa Rica

The following current events were found in a newspaper from September 13th, 2011.

1. René Castro, the minister of MINAET (an organization that fixes environmental and energy problems of Costa Rica) decided to retire in 2014.

René Castro used to be the Minster of the Presidency in the 1980s when he was a mere 25 years of age. He started being the minister of MINAET from 1994. Before he retires though, he has many good ideas to change Costa Rica’s environmental and energy related problems. For example, in Costa Rica the water use and payment law has been 69 years and is too out-of-date to suit modern circumstances, so Castro plans to change and upgrade the law to fit modern times. The people appreciate what he has done in the past years and many wish to make him stay, but Castro says he must retire to allow younger people with fresher ideas, as well as the fact that he is older now and would like to rest with his family.

2. US embassy in Costa Rica holds a rededication ceremony for the memorial of 9/11 on September 11th, 8:30 am.

The memorial was a sculpture made in 2004 by Roland Hockett, and the dedication ceremony was held on 9/11, 2004, but vandals damaged a section of the sculpture and so Mr. Hockett redid the vandalized part and prepared the sculpture for the rededication ceremony on 9/11, 2011.

3. Rebel judge?!

An ex-peace corps volunteer and US citizen, Jason Puracal, 34, was sent to court for owning drugs, money laundering, and organized crime, worth a full 30 year sentence, but on court day judge Krigger Narváez didn’t show up, though everyone waited. Due to this sudden delaying of the hearing, Jason Puracal’s  hearing date has been rescheduled. This time, Krigger Navárez will not be the judge present at the hearing.

4. Childhood obesity in Costa Rica rising!

The childhood obesity rate in Costa Rica has risen from the relatively low obesity rate in the 1990s to the appalling rate of 2011 stating that one out of five Costa Rican adolescents are obese. 20% of the patients in the National Children’s Hospital in San José are children being treated for type 2 diabetes, which is caused by obesity. This rate has been rising especially among city children who are exposed to junk food and comfortable ways of life like cars and video games instead of walking to places and running around for fun. The government sent a report saying that the common gallo pinto dish eaten by many Ticos can help prevent obesity by eating more beans and less rice.

5. New Security Cameras!

Last Thursday the government added a dozen new security cameras on General Cañas highway, the main highway connecting to the Juan Santamaria Int’l Airport. These cameras film vehicles and record the license plate numbers of speeding vehicles. The security cameras have been proven effective; for the first 11 hours, exactly 1,224 speeders were found and fined. The government is satisfied with the results and plan to add security cameras like these on other larger highways.

6. Annual Clean-up Day!

Terra Nostra’s third annual clean-up day has pulled it off again. This year’s mission is to collect old, broken electronics form Ticos all around Costa Rica and recycle them properly. There are 31 new dispatching stations set up all over Costa Rica for Ticos to drop off their old electronics. The organizers of this event plan to keep the stations open for a week so all Ticos can do their part. They claim that it is important to recycle electronics properly because electronics contain substances like mercury, lead, and cadmium which releases toxins harmful to humans, animals, and the environment when decaying.

7. Juan Santamaria Int’l Airport Security Enhancement

Last Friday the government has implante new security measures in the Juan Santamaria Int’l Airport located in San José. Problems he airport had before these new safety measures were severe problems such as people succeeding in smuggling items in and out of the country through planes due to insecure safety measurements and people moving in and out of boarding areas exchanging luggage to smuggle items, rob and pickpocket, and make illegal deals. Due to these continuing problems the government has inserted dividers on all boarding areas to prevent passengers moving in and out of these areas to mingle. Also to prevent illegal items being boarded on planes such as medicines, firearms, etc. the government ordered two new security checks; one at the entrance to the boarding areas and one at the boarding gate.

8. Death of Jan Kalina

Jan Kalina, the famous Czech entrepreneur died shortly after July 28th when his hotel that he fought 16 years in court with the government for building it on the Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge was bulldozed by the government for unknown causes.

9. Chinchilla’s School Fund

Laura Chinchilla, current president of Costa Rica recently signed a $167 million trust fund to improve public schools all around Costa Rica. Many schools don’t have textbooks, desks, and sometimes electricity. This trust fund would be paid by different banks and private companies to improve the top 79 schools in Costa Rica that needs help. This trust fund is said to help 27,ooo students.

2 Responses to “Religion and Current Events”

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  2. Brandon Kingstonley October 2, 2013 at 6:51 PM #

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